Gosport Borough’s march to the arch ended in Wembley disappointment this afternoon.
Their hopes of lifting the FA Trophy at the home of English Football were shattered by Cambridge United who cruised to a 4-0 victory in the capital.
Goals from Pompey loanee Ryan Bird on 38 minutes, Ryan Donaldson’s second-half double (50 and 59 minutes) and a Luke Berry Penalty (78) did the damage to Alex Pike’s side who found their higher-league opposition too strong on the day.
Borough can be proud of their efforts, though, and were unlucky to go into the break 1-0 down after Bird’s opener.
They enjoyed large periods of possession, with Justin Bennett, Jamie Brown, Mike Gosney and Tim Sills having efforts on goal.
However, none of them really troubled United goalkeeper Will Norris, who dealt comfortably with what Borough threw at them.
At the other end, Nathan Ashmore did brilliantly to deny Bird on four minutes and Liam Hughes on 37 minutes – on both occasions rushing off his line to narrow the angle and blocking their shots on goal.
But there was little he could do when Bird found his range just before the interval, with the striker latching on to Donaldson’s ball over the top and producing the finest of lobs from the edge of the box.
Pike kept faith with his starting XI for the start of the second half but wished Josh Carmichael could have done better with a free-kick on the edge of the box on 48 minutes that once again was hit straight at Norris.
And the missed opportunity proved costly two minutes later when Liam Hughes robbed Brown in the middle of the park and set up Donaldson, who produced the most stylish of finishes to double United’s advantage.
Borough brought on Williams and Woodward for Brown and Sills on 57 minutes, but the double substitition failed to stop a Cambridge side now in full flow, and their now superior play was rewarded again when Donaldson fired home after Berry had struck the post.
The busy midfielder wasn’t to be denied his moment in front of the 18,102 crowd, though, as he fired home United’s fourth from the penalty spot when substitute Andy Pugh was brought down by Danny Smith.
With the game nowe out of reach, all the Gosport fans wanted was a goal to celebrate.
But the closest they came was on 85 muinutes when suibstitute Dan Woodward struck the bar from the edge of the penalty box.
The effort summed up Borough’s day – a terrific effort but just not good enough.